Fierce Fridays: Reproductive Rights

Welcome to week five of sharing excerpts from the book, Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment. This book is for those who have a desire to get the most out of life. Those who want to make positive change, but are not sure how to make it happen. It is for young women who will soon be out of high school and on their way to college or some other adventure. It is also for women of any age who needs a reminder of how fierce she can be.  My hope is that you will share these posts with all the girls and women in your life. Let them know the book can be read for free online or a a soft cover book is available for sale at Bookemon.com. Enjoy!

“I do not wish them(women) to have power over men, but over themselves.” -Mary Wollstonecraft

Reproductive Rights

   The right to decide to have children or not is a human right. For women it determines our health, our opportunity for education, and income. If we cannot choose to use birth control or have an abortion than we are not in control of our bodies. Pressure to give birth to and raise children comes from religion, conservative politicians, culture, and old school tradition. Laws that don’t allow insurance coverage of contraception and pharmacists that deny selling contraception or morning after pills can also be a barrier for birth control.

Reproductive rights affect men. When a woman gets pregnant she will most often rely on her partner to help care for the child.  This means that men have to change their lifestyles, may leave or not attend school so they can work, and even raise his child alone or in shared custody.

In the issue of health we may not survive child birth or be able to bring a baby to full term. If a woman dies during childbirth and the baby survives than the father is expected to take care of her or him. If women are refused the option to terminate a pregnancy for health reasons then we are not considered equal to men. We are in fact second class citizens who are seen as disposable and unable to care for our own bodies.

It is harder to get an education when we are pregnant. Childcare is time consuming, financially and physically draining, we face discrimination, and our access to school is limited. When we have a choice to wait or not have children at all we give ourselves more time to attain a college degree and then afford the cost of childcare if we choose motherhood.

Not everyone can rely on their partner or parents to assist with raising a baby. These are question for men and women because either parent can change their mind after realizing what it really takes to be a parent.

Childcare is very expensive so pregnancy affects our opportunities to rise above or keep from falling into poverty. In 2011 the USDA reported that middle class parents of “a child born in 2011 can expect to spend about $234,900 to raise that child over the next 17 years.” *(4) Even in a good economy that is a lot of money. Most families would have to go into debt to spend that much. With the rise of single parent homes and shared custody agreements that would be impossible.

Currently women in most countries have access to abortions because of the law. Should reproductive rights be controlled by the government or is that reaching too far into your personal life? Is it fair that a man who cannot become pregnant is in a position of power vote on women’s reproduction? In a 2011 report by Save the Children, countries were studied to see who had the best and worst maternity care. “A typical Norwegian woman has 18 years of formal education and will live to be 83 years old; 82 percent are using some modern method of contraception, and only 1 in 175 will lose a child before his or her fifth birthday. At the opposite end of the spectrum, in Afghanistan, a typical woman has fewer than five years of education and will not live to be 45. Less than 16 percent of women are using modern contraception and 1 child in 5 dies before reaching age 5. At this rate, every mother in Afghanistan is likely to suffer the loss of a child.”

In early 2012 Sandra Fluke a Georgetown law student made the news twice. The first time was because she had attempted to speak at a congressional hearing on women’s reproductive rights, but was not allowed. She wanted to speak about the lack of birth control available for women in college. The hearing didn’t include any women at all. This was outrageous and she made a point of letting women know how our rights were being discussed behind closed doors with no women allowed.

The second time was immediately after her first story went viral. People were outraged to hear a famous radio host   Rush Limbaugh, who is bigoted and only famous for spreading hate, call Sandra a “SLUT” after she spoke out about her attempt to testify in congress.*(5) Thousands of people spoke up and signed petitions asking for a boycott of Limbaugh’s radio show with the result of 12 sponsors pulling their advertisements. While the attack was simply another attempt to take power away from women, it created discussions and brought to light the reality of how women are treated and how underrepresented we are in government office.

If this pisses you off, you can get involved in the fight for women to have reproductive rights by volunteering with an organization like Planned Parenthood. This global non-partisan, non-profit organization is an advocate for millions of women, men, teenagers, and families by providing healthcare that includes sexual and reproductive healthcare, and sexual education. You can be a changemaker at PlannedParenthood.org.

You can find a variety of statistics online and in books to find out the affects of reproductive laws. They all boil down to the fact that when we restrict a woman’s right to choose contraception or abortion, and do not educate women about reproduction, than we increase the chances of unwanted pregnancies and dangerous health conditions for women and babies. Making abortion something we need to have government permission for shows that women are not seen as equal.

  • Is your sexual partner willing to care for a baby?
  • Are you prepared to be the sole provider for childcare?
  • How many people do you know are raising a child alone?
  • Why do you think someone else should control your choice of pregnancy, abortion, or birth control?… Continue reading at Bookemon.com

2 Comments

    1. Thanks. You are right it is so much more than just finances. It’s another living being after all! It takes so much to raise a child and how many of us can completely understand that when we are 16 or 20.

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